I am Iron Man

With apologies to Black Sabbath, Ozzy1 there are several Iron Men that have put together lengthy games played streaks in the Major Leagues.  With the Yankees in town this weekend, this series features two players that have not had a day off in quite a while.  Hideki Matsui of the Yankees and Brandon Inge of the Tigers have been playing non stop for some time now.  Entering July, Matsui had played in 403 straight games, while Inge had a streak of 118 straight.  Neither of these streaks will challenge Cal Ripken, but they are impressive nonetheless.

Here is a list of the top current streaks heading into July:

Miguel Tejeda:    835

Hideki Matsui:     402

Derek Lee:         219

Mark Teixeira:   199

Carlos Delgado:  155

Ichiro Suzuki:     154

The all time leader of course is Cal Ripken.  On September 6, 1995 at Oriole Park, Ripken played in his 2131st consecutive game.  Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record that night against the California Angels.  Ripken_2130a_2_1 It remains the highlight of my broadcasting career.  As fortune would have it, I was in town broadcasting for the Angels that night and was at the mic when Ripken homered in the fourth inning on his record setting night.  When the game became official in the fifth inning, it was the most surreal sight to see Ripken take his victory lap around the ballpark warning track thanking the fans.  The game was held up for about 30 minutes as they recognized the accomplishment.  It’s a record that will never be broken in my mind.  Cal went on to play in 2,632 straight games.  An incredible feat, considering he played one of the most demanding positions on the field.

Tejada’s streak is impressive enough, but for him to catch Cal, he would have to play in 1,797 more games…straight…without getting hurt…or taking a day off…while maintaining enough productivity to keep his spot in the lineup….good luck.  123173_90x135It takes a special guy to want to play every day.  I asked Inge earlier this year if he ever felt like he wanted a day off.  He said, "No, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself on the bench."

For the record, here is the top 5 list of all time streaks:

Cal Ripken:     2632

Lou Gehrig:     2130

Everett Scott:  1307

Steve Garvey:  1207

Billy Williams:   1117

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